BCCI suspends Meiyappan, Srinivasan announces fair probe

Kolkata/Delhi/Chennai, May 26 (IANS) The Indian cricket board Sunday suspended Chennai Super Kings chief executive officer Gurunath Meiyappan, even as board chief N. Srinivasan, refusing to step down, announced that a commission would probe his son-in-law's role in the spot fixing scandal, whose ramifications seem to be widening.

A Mumbai police team raided Meiyappan's house in Chennai, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) promised to assist the police and regulatory authorities in the investigation into the scandal,

In Delhi, a court remanded arrested Indian pacer S. Sreesanth and cricketer Ajit Chandila to two more days of police custody till May 28 while a third player Ankeet Chavan was sent to judicial custody till June 4 in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal case.

The arrest of the three Rajasthan Royals cricketers May 16 had blown the lid off the biggest scam to hit Indian cricket of late.

In Kolkata, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale announced Meiyappan's suspension.

"Pending further investigation and any subsequent hearing by the BCCI Disciplinary Committee or the IPL Code of Behaviour Committee, Mr. Meiyappan has been suspended by the BCCI from any involvement in the sport of cricket and in particular from any involvement with the Chennai Super Kings team," Jagdale said.

Meiyappan gave himself up late Friday night to Mumbai police, who arrested him after a three-hour grilling. Meiyappan's name cropped up after police arrested Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, who was seen in the VIP boxes during Indian Premier League franchise Super Kings' matches.

Amid the clamour for his ouster from the top BCCI post, Srinivasan held a media conference here hours before the IPL final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.

"I will not shirk my dutythe BCCI will act without fear or favour to investigate, and if the circumstances so warrant punish any player, match official, team management or franchise that have breached BCCI or IPL regulations."

He termed as untrue media reports of a "revolt in the BCCI" and said there was unity in the board.

"I have not been asked by anybody to resign, to the contrary, my support is complete and I refuse to yield to unfair and motivated attacks. I intend to continue my duties as president of the BCCI," Srinivasan said.

Going on the offensive against his detractors, the BCCI president said: "Persons who have been suspended by the BCCI, known defaulters , fugitives from India justice system and other vested interests keen to discredit me and the BCCI have indulged in a smear campaign since the last few days.

He said the media has been "unfair" in its attack. "TV news channels have been carrying unverifiable reports devoid of truth," said Srinivasan.

Commenting on the proposed commission, he said it would include one independent member and two out of the following five: BCCI senior vice president Arun Jaitley, BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, former India skipper Ravi Shastri and BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.

"I am not part of the commission and I will not play any role in its appointment, deliberation or decisions," Srinivasan said, but failed to give a timeframe for the panel to submit its report. "It will do it swiftly," was all he would say.

Srinivasan said the management of Rajasthan Royals, three of whose players were arrested May 16 alongside 11 bookies thus exposing the scam, will also be subject to the same procedure.

Srinivasan said the commission would look into whether Meiyappan was the owner of the CSK franchise or whether it has breached the operational rules of the franchise agreement.

"He (Gurunath) has been travelling with the team. He is enthusiastic. What his role was... whether he transcended any rule... the commission will find out," said a distinctly uncomfortable Srinivasan, as mediapersons virtually grilled him on how his son-in-law managed to be in the team dug-out or carried a franchise accreditation despite being a mere "enthusiast".

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